Jewish Defense League (JDL) chairman Irv Rubin died on Nov. 13 from injuries sustained during an apparent suicide attempt inside the LA County jail holding him. He was 57.
Rubin wound up behind bars for allegedly plotting to bomb a Muslim mosque and the district office of Darrell Issa, the Republican congressman representing parts of Orange and San Diego counties. Authorities say Rubin slashed his own throat with a prison-issue razor before leaping over a balcony on Nov. 4. Rubin's family, which denies he tried to kill himself, is reportedly contemplating a lawsuit against the government.
Though based in Los Angeles, the bombastic Rubin certainly had his share of Orange County run-ins. The FBI tried unsuccessfully to link him to the 1985 Santa Ana office bombing that killed Arab-American rights activist Alex Odeh. The Weekly's own Commie Girl, Rebecca Schoenkopf, caught Rubin in action during an August 2001 protest outside a White Power benefit at Anaheim's the Shack.
He also blew into a June 1998 meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees, which had been subjected to international ridicule after trustee Steven Frogue tried to get taxpayer funding for a John F. Kennedy assassination seminar that would feature two speakers who had been branded anti-Semites. One of those speakers, Michael Collins Piper, who'd written a book that alleged Israeli intelligence agents killed Kennedy, had flown in from the East Coast to attend the same board meeting.
A partial account from that evening reveals the Irv Rubin we'd all come to love—or loathe, depending on your world view.
9:38:10 p.m. Someone leaves the standing-room-only meeting, and Rubin is allowed in by the doorman cop. Rubin and Piper exchange death stares. 9:38:17 p.m. "Shouldn't you get your money back for that haircut?" Piper crony Jim Scott asks Rubin. 9:40 p.m. Barry Krugel, Rubin's colleague, is finally admitted. Barry is the brother of Earl Krugel, who is also being held in the alleged bomb plot. 9:47 p.m. After much back and forth, Scott calls Rubin "subhuman" and "a lower life form." 9:59 p.m. Rubin wants to "shed the spotlight" on Joe Fields, who had to leave the meeting early for another engagement. "He's a self-admitted Hitler-lover," Rubin says of Fields. "He is also a convicted child molester who tries to pick up young girls and put them in his dirty little movies. And yet we have nothing but silence from Mr. Frogue. Mr. Frogue, your silence speaks a great deal. Maybe you ought to look yourself in the mirror and wonder who you're associated with." 10:07 p.m. As pro- and anti-Frogueans shout at one another, Rubin stares down Scott. "Don't look at my face," Rubin demands.
"I wouldn't look at you, you piece of garbage," Scott answers back.
10:16 p.m. Piper takes the microphone. "I feel like I'm in a really bad John Waters movie," he says.
"Really? More makeup," Rubin suggests. "Your makeup job is really bad."
"You need some sun, my boy," Piper tells Rubin, who replies, "Puh-leeze." Piper asks his challengers to debate him about his book.
"Who would give you any credibility?" Rubin asks. "Who would give a nut case like you a forum?"
10:17 p.m. Amid another shouting attack, Piper says of Rubin, "If ever there was an argument in favor of anti-Semitism, it's this spokesman, this self-appointed spokesman for the Jewish community right here." Speaking directly to Rubin, Piper adds, "You're a most unpleasant man."